It is time for another lesson on the correct mindset when playing. Why is it so much easier to play tentatively, rather than going for your shots with the correct mindset? The answer lies in fear. Fear of failing! Going for your shots and being aggressive requires you to take risks. When you take risks you make yourself more vulnerable to failure. Therefore, there are a certain amount of negatives, mistakes and failures that come along as part of the package.
Since most people have trouble handling their mistakes and failures, mainly because they have not trained themselves properly to handle them, they will opt instead to play tentatively. Obviously you can play tentatively and win, but in the long run as the competition improves you will be in big trouble. You must learn to begin making decisions to go for your shots. This is not an easy task.
By going for your shots I do not mean hitting the ball with power. You can go for your shots and hit a slow drop shot. Going for your shots just means the absence of playing tentatively.
I, too, was guilty of playing tentatively in my college days. I remember the decision I made to stop playing tentatively and to go for my shots. To this day I clearly remember why I made that decision. It is really not complicated. One day when I was playing a college match, I played tentatively, and lost! After the match was over I remember thinking to myself, I could have had the same results playing with the correct mindset, and I also would have enjoyed myself. I would much rather lose playing my match correctly than lose playing tentatively.
That moment changed my attitude for good. I suggest you do the same. Here is a hint on how to break the tentative syndrome. "Give yourself the freedom to go for your shots and if you miss, accept it!" The key to stop playing tentatively is to first learn to accept the negatives, mistakes, and failures that are part of the package -- "give yourself the freedom to go for your shots and if you miss, accept it!" The ability to accept failure while thinking correctly is what mental toughness is all about.
You should constantly make decisions to go for your shots -- win, lose, or draw. Mental toughness does not mean you never fail. That bears repeating. Mental toughness does not mean you never fail. It means you make decisions that will give you the best opportunity for success. The first tough decision to master is to not play tentatively -- even when you fail! Give yourself the freedom to go for your shots and if you miss, accept it!